Scouting Notes from Nine Baseball’s MLK Invitational

This past Martin Luther King Day I had the opportunity to attend Nine Baseball’s invitation-only tryout for East Coast high schoolers at the Pocono Dome. I’ve included my notes on most of the notable young men in attendance below. I wanted to get these up sooner but a death in the family has prevented me from doing so until now. Amateur baseball in the northeast is generally poor because the weather only lends itself to favorable baseball conditions for maybe 5 months. As such, I have a tendency to be optimistic about even the most mediocre pro prospects in the area because there are so few of them at all. Keep that in mind as you read. Also, there were 60 players in attendance and I regretfully couldn’t write up every one of them. There were several players whose names are underlined and starred on my scouting sheet that don’t get mentioned here because of time and space, but they are noteworthy nonetheless. Kids like Luke Bonfield, Kyle Stinson, Gavin Sheets and Endy Sanchez, just to name a few, are all really interesting young baseball players who I liked quite a bit but decided not to include bulky reports on in the notes that follow. If you’re one of the players from the event and don’t see your name below I encourage you to bust your ass in school and at practice to make me look like an idiot. Until then, let’s discuss the kids that stood out to me. Continue reading…

Do the Phillies Have Payroll Space to Afford A.J. Burnett?

Yesterday, Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported that starter A.J. Burnett, who had been mulling retirement, decided to make his services available for at least one more season. Obviously, the Pirates are interested in bringing him back, but the Orioles and Rangers are two other teams expected to show interest. The Phillies, with a mediocre starting rotation beyond Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels, could also decide to pursue the right-hander on a short-term deal. Sawchik reported that they have interest.

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Finding A Glimmer of Hope for the 2014 Phillies

The Phillies are old. It’s a narrative that both is true and has been repeated ad nauseam for the third straight year. The Phillies’ success in 2014 will depend largely on the health and performance of the five position players 34 years or older expected to accrue at least 400 plate appearances: Marlon Byrd (36), Jimmy Rollins, Carlos Ruiz, Chase Utley (35), and Ryan Howard (34). If things start to trend positive for the first time in a while, the Phillies could improve on last year’s 73-89 record. If not, they’ll likely keep the Marlins company at the bottom of the NL East.

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